Alfa 156 GTA

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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:29 pm

Had to replace tyres today as found the inner edge had disappeared completely along with the rubber! I am good at checking my tyres but this has worn very quickly. Looks like suspension rebuild will be moved even further forward. Make sure you check your tyres regularly. Anyway the tyres are safe again. Looks like the bushes are causing major tracking issues, I suspect that the wheels are towing out causing the edge to drag and wear. Luckily there is an accident repair centre nearby so once new suspension has been fitted the car will be properly aligned. They have got a full suspension dyno and computerised setup for each individual wheel and the values are checked against factory setups. We used this once before on my old corsa and found a slight bend in the rear frame was causing tyre wear issues.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:13 pm

So just got my suspension items back from welding. Although the welding was purely to make sure the metal bushes didnt go anywhere and move after fitting. Next step is to clean them back add some paint and fix them on.

Ordered some Eibach upgrade arb's today as I think it is worth while renewing and upgrading whilst I am replacing the rest of the suspension with polybushed items. These should help improve roll control although I wouldn't say the car rolls very much as standard. They are also adjustable so I can fine tune to my driving a little also.

Also got my 2.5v6 exhaust manifolds welded on the outside where the pipes meet the flange. From the factory they are welded inside? This will be carefully ground back and matched-ish to the head ports eventually.
I am looking at wrapping these manifolds, should I strip back, paint and then wrap or......? Any advice would be appreciated.

Also now run into another problem with the car as have noticed the oil cooler is leaking. This will be something to look at this weekend as I really need it for my daily commute. I kinda feel that Lizzy (Alfa) is punishing me for when I wasn't taking very much care for her when I was newly married and completely skint. Keeping fingers crossed it is an easy repair.
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fingers99
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by fingers99 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:00 am

Also got my 2.5v6 exhaust manifolds welded on the outside where the pipes meet the flange. From the factory they are welded inside? This will be carefully ground back and matched-ish to the head ports eventually.
I've never seen Alfa V6 ones close up, but it's not uncommon for them to be welded from the inside. I'd guess it makes it easier for weldors (or robot weldors) and that it does no harm. Generally port matching on the exhaust side (unless, perhaps, you've reliable flow bench/dyno figures to back this up) is to be avoided. Most engines "like" a step there and port matching will simply loose something in the mid range and gain nothing elsewhere. No one seems to know (or no one is telling ;)) why this is.

Some of the manifolds Dave Vizard did for the Ford SOHC engine have what can only be described as inserts between the manifold and the head face.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:05 pm

Thanks for that, i have heard about steps before between head and manifold for exhaust. But i didn't know if there was any real performance reason??
Well at least i may just smooth out the welds inside the manifold.

Looking under the car today and running the car up to temp i did notice that the leak from around the cooler seems to be coming from the cooler itself leaking between some fins!
The bottom half of the cooler is very oily and lots of poor has stuck to it. The pipes going in underneath also look to be in very bad condition.
I know from experience that these items are very expensive individually. Autolusso do a Mocal oil cooler kit replacement which is much more reasonable. Unfortunately for the time being i have spent out on other parts and now this bites me.

It is also very annoying as i have recently only just done a full oil change and the oil is not cheap either.
For the time being in order to save potentially doing lots of damage, i think i will be taking the car off the road and try to purchase something cheap.
As they say it never rains but it poors and i think putting things off just that little too long was a mistake.
Fingers crossed now that the car can get sorted whilst it takes a wee rest. As if i needed another car to fix up.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:36 am

Firstly i apologise for the poor pictures. I have tried to take a photo of the engine oil cooler on the driver side from underneath. But it gives you an idea of how the pipes etc attach.
When i replace the oil cooler i will take some before and after shots.
As can be clearly seen however the steel oil pipes has corroded quite significantly where they join to the aluminium cooler. You will also notice oil present.

The kit i have purchased required me to cut the oil cooler pipes under the car and then attach pressure fixings that i can connect flexible rubber hoses to in order to route oil, to the cooler.
More oil is at least going to be required.
Attachments
DSC_1160.jpg
Oil leak
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DSC_1161.jpg
Oil leak
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:34 am

This week saw the arrival of upgraded Eibach Anti Roll Bars which are a tried and tested great upgrade for these cars. They come highly recommended by all that i have spoke to. I therefore decided to give them a try.
The Mocal Oil cooler kit also arrived as i found i had a leaky oil cooler. The new one is also slightly larger than standard and should be easier to get hold of in the future if it breaks. Maybe it will also help keep the oil temperature slightly lower? We will see as it can get hot when going for a blast.

Last night i cleaned up the suspension arms that i had to get welded and primed them ready for paint, before these are fitted they will also have a bit of seam sealer to make sure no water gets into the weld. This should ensure they are long lasting.
Many thanks to both Autolusso and Alfisti who supplied the parts with great customer service with quick delivery.

This weekend i have some time free so hopefully all suspension arms with polybushes, upgraded anti roll bars and mocal oil cooler kit will all be fitted ready for me to drive to work on Monday. Wish me luck.
Next year will see another load of work carried out, but for the time being i think i have spent enough and would like just to be able to drive her normally again and enjoy. Plus with Christmas round the corner i think my wife would like a nice present, so i'd better start saving.
I will try and upload some step by step photos of the work next week, fingers crossed i don't find (any) too many other items that need replacing along the way.
Attachments
DSC_1168.jpg
Mocal Oil Cooler
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DSC_1169.jpg
Mocal Oil Cooler size
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DSC_1170.jpg
Eibach ARB Kit
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:18 pm

Unfortunately due to the weather i was not able to get everything sorted on the Alfa over the weekend, but i did at least make a good start.
In the end i only had yesterday to fit everything, so i decided to make a start with fitting new Upper and lower arms on both sides with the polybushed arms i have been messing about with for ages. Actually all in all this was quite easy.
For those of you who are interested i just jacked the car up.
Removed the road wheels.
Removed front bumper to make access easier.
Loosened all of the bolts holding the lower arms in situ, this includes bolt holding damper fork to lower arms which is 19mm, 4 bolts holding arms to subframe which are 15mm, ball joint holding lower arm to hub which is 22mm. Then i undone the bolt holding the arm droplink to the strut assembly which was 17mm.
Then loosened the 17mm bolt holding the upper arm to hub assembly and used a proper ball joint splitter to seperate. (don't use a fork with hammer as you will end up hitting the wing, it is alot easier to use splitter with thread to push the ball joint apart.
Before you remove all bolts also take the time to get someone stand on the brakes and loosen the large hub nut.
Now you can start removing bolts for lower arm to hub. To do this jack up lower arm to apply suspension pressure, then with hammer hit the lower arm and ball joint(with nut fitted) to free. The hub assembly will drop.
Now undo the bolt on lower ball joint, hub nut and top bolt to upper arm.
Make sure all wires etc and brake lines are free and not put under any stress!
I then tied the hub assembly to the body with some wire.
Next un bolt damper fork to lower arms and drift out. Now you can undo 2x 17mm bolts up inside engine bay on top of strut assembly nearest the inner part of the car, you can now manipulate the complete damper assembly out the way, if you can remove it makes it even easier.
Next un bolt 2 17mm bolts on top of strut assembly inside engine bay on the outer side and now you can pull down the complete upper arm assembly. Note on passenger side, you also have to unbolt 13mm bolt which holds wire/hose clamp.
Now you can unbolt the upper arm from assembly and refit with new arm, make sure bolt is greased up on shaft.
Assembly is reverse of removal.
Now the lower arms can be unbolted from subframe. All you need to do now is move the arb up and hold out the way and you should be able to wiggle the wishbone loose. Refitting the polybushed arms was quite easy as you can rotate the bushes to slide in. Then you just need to make sure you line everything up, which can be a little tricky. Make sure you thread the rear bolts properly as they bolt into aluminium.
If you have got this far you should be able to work out how to put it all back together again. Make sure you put wires and hoses in correct place. Make sure everything is torqued up!
I will be doing this again in near future as i have to replace clutch, diff and timing belt and arb soon.
Due to time constraints i wasn't able to fit the upgrade Eibach ARB's as this involves dropping the front subframe.
Hopefully this weekend i will be able to fit the rear polybushed arms and polybushed arb mount for standard arb.
Attachments
DSC_1171.jpg
Car lined up with bits for fitting(not everything got fitted, but just to give idea of overhaul in progress
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Front parts to be fitted eventually
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DSC_1173.jpg
Rear parts for fitting eventually
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DSC_1174.jpg
Trim parts on front bumper to be removed (2x chrome pieces and centre section
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DSC_1175.jpg
Removal of front bumper to make fitting easier
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DSC_1176.jpg
Passenger side upper arm in situ
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DSC_1177.jpg
Close up
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DSC_1178.jpg
Drivers side upper arm in situ
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DSC_1179.jpg
Close up
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156torquesC155.jpg
Torque figures for Alfa 156 GTA
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:00 pm

Hi guys, just thought i would add some more pictures of the front and rear lower arm polybushes with the arm in situ. Sorry they are not very good pictures, but you can see fixed in place.

I also thought i would add a few photos of the new wider MOCAL oil cooler fitted in situ. I am still not decided whether to keep the original air ducting or not. If i do i really should file away the plastic surround a bit in order to allow it to fit flush on the cooler as the mounting tabs at the moment are in an awkward bent position.
I am still not happy with the mounting as the cooler can move about a bit, so i think i will be making an extra mount which helps secure the bottom of the cooler. This is also to help prevent the oil cooler touching the abds drive pulleys as it is very close and i dont want it being pushed into the rotating pulleys. There is only about a 1cm gap at the moment, which hopefully i should be able to make large once i trial fit the front bumper again.
The oil pipes were a bit of a pain to fit, in order to allow you to fit them, you really have to soak the end of the pipes in a boiling kettle and then immediately push them onto the fixings. This was pretty awkward and difficult, but after running the car upto temperature there doesn't seem to be any sign of a noticeable leak. I suppose only a road test will tell me 100%.
Once i have made sure all is well, i will be doing a complete oil and filter change as dirt and debris could have accidentally got into the pipes etc and there may also be some drops of water which got in the pipes aswell. I suppose better to be safe than sorry.
If i am to be perfectly honest, this sort of work should really be done on a bench with everything dry, but as this vehicle is supposed to be in constant use, time is very much against me.
Attachments
DSC_1183.jpg
Front lower arm front bush (steel housing)
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DSC_1182.jpg
Front lower arm rear bush (aluminium housing)
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DSC_1180.jpg
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DSC_1181.jpg
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:43 am

Took the time last night after work to make up a quick bracket to help make the oil cooler mount more rigid.
Firstly i mocked up in old pizza boxes to get the shape i wanted. Then just transferred to mild steel sheet and bent away and welded to make a mount. I have to apologise it is no work of art but it hopefully it will do the job nicely.
If the weather dries up today i may actually get a chance to fit it aswell and take the car out for a drive to see if everything is ok.
The car is still due a massive overhaul in few months or so, so we shall see how the bracket fairs up in that time.

In time i will also look at adjusting the air duct with fibreglass to help it fit around the complete cooler.
Attachments
DSC_1184.jpg
Simple bracket mocked up in place
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DSC_1185.jpg
another view, welding i think still needs more practise
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DSC_1190.jpg
bracket after been primed and then allowed to dry and painted with some satin black. Should hopefully prevent it rusting up
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:30 am

So finally a few days late the front of the car was put back together, i took a final picture of the fabricated mount for the oil cooler in place with bumper etc fitted.
Then it was time for a drive, luckily for me this coincided with my wife getting back from work so i also took her out aswell.
Its good to have a passenger as it makes the drive a little more sedate. I promise!
I thought in order to test if the oil cooler was really ok i had to get the oil temp right up to where i normally get it on a hard drive.
It has to be said that was alot harder as the cooler is now much larger and i really had to give the car alot of stick to get the temp up.
Somehow managed to use just under a quarter tank of fuel to go something like 8 miles! woops.
Good news is no oil leaks were visible so far and the pipe joints were dry.

On the said drive i was also able to give the car a bit of stick in the corners and over some bumps etc. I am pleased to report the nasty knocking noises from the front end have dissapeared, which is mainly down to the fact that the new arms have new metal ball joints. I also noticed that the car doesn't have as much of a tendency to pull you around the road, i think this is mainly down to the new bushes. The steering feels a little more responsive and you can feel a bit more from the road, but i am also happy to report they don't give you the harsh crashy sort of ride you might expect and what others have warned of. In fact i would say they are just slightly better than standard rubber bushes but they should at least stay that way for longer than rubber bushes.
I decided in my choice for polybushes to stick with the softer bushes, i am sure that if you went for the sporty race bushes they would make the ride alot more harsh. But for the road and my type of car, i think these bushes are perfectly suited.

I can't wait now until i get the rear bushes sorted, i think this will go a long way to make the front feel even more responsive. I have also decided to try the upgrade Eibach anti roll bar on the rear only set on its softest setting. This will also go along way to greatly improve steering turn in response, i may just have to be careful of the rear end being slightly less stable.
I am going to run the car for a few days to doubly make sure there are no leaks and when i am happy i will also treat here to another oil/filter change.
Attachments
DSC_1193.jpg
Oil cooler fabricated mount all bolted up with bumper in situ. It is a tight fit to the fog light, but since i very rarely change bulbs i not to worried about the reduced access.
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Nobby
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Nobby » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:08 pm

Good stuff. I notice that the lower wishbones have different mounts on the front any back (steel vs alluminium). Are the standard GTA ones like that or did you have them made. Certainly Fiat ones are both steel - and you have to reuse the standard mounts when retrofitting PU bushes (ooh its a dirty job burning then out!).

Chris
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:26 pm

Hi Chris the standard arms are like that with one aluminium and one steel, same arms.for all 156 models I believe. I agree with you about burning the old ones out. In the end I found it easier to use drill with soft wire brush and just be patient. Burning them out just makes too much of a mess and takes too long.
With any luck I will be able to tackle the rear arms also over the next couple of weeks.
I have managed to borrow my old car back for a while so as long as I can get mot'd with no issues I will try and save money and take my time on the Alfa.
First off I need to fit a new exhaust to the wifes car and pick up yet another restoration project.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:52 am

So over the weekend i attended my brothers wedding and he kindly gave me his car (my old corsa) back to me so i could use whilst the Alfa was off the road.
The MOT is due and we knew it would fail, so i have said i will fix it back up and use whilst the Alfa is getting a proper overhaul. When i'm finished with it i promised i would return it in better condition than when i got it! Not hard really as the brakes failed on me on the way home, so that needs sorting.
Big thankyou to my brother for letting me borrow his car. For anyone that is interested its a 2002 Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 16V so it should help me save a few pennies in my daily commute.
I am sure i will miss driving the Alfa, but it really is crying out for the attention it deserves.
I will upload a small list of jobs being undertaken and tick off as we go along, it is a long list so please don't expect anything to happen too quickly.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:39 pm

So i have mentioned at some point that i was looking into a 2 piece aluminium bell and seperate vented disc rotor kit for the 156 GTA as i kept finding i was warping discs .
It has to be said after much reading researching and talking to people in the know i have gone off the idea, i not saying its not possible but for a proper setup which is safe to use, it involves more maintenance and alot more extra cost. If the car was going to be turned into a track car i would look into replacement calipers and bigger vented discs, but as i intend to use the car daily again i need something that is relatively maintenance free but still gives a good quality product which works well on the vehicle.
After looking at many disc suppliers i have finally decided to go with EBC Ultimax rear solid(shallow grooved) discs with red stuff pads.
I know alot of people like drilled and grooved discs, but i am really not a fan of drilled discs. To explain why, i have seen cracks around drilled discs on fast road car and if these go un noticed the effects can be catastrophic. People like Brembo do create good quality drilled rotors as the castings are very carefully adapted to accept drill holes, however this cannot be said for alot of cheaper drilled discs.
I think most people just like the look. The Brembo drilled discs i think were originally developed for Porsche i believe, but for most cars they cost an absolute fortune. They are drilled to allow better cooling, but also to remove alot of weight. On the Alfa i not too concerned about weight and as far as i am concerned, the grooved discs will help with cooling and maybe prevent the discs warping. The grooves provide a sort of scraper affect which helps cut the surface of the pad, this also allows gases created under braking to escape which means you can improve braking time and time again without fade.
I feel that on the standard solid discs the discs were getting too hot for the pad material which was causing the pads to glaze up and therefore i would lose some braking power but also creating massive heat which was warping the discs.
I have never had any issues with the front discs, but then i do have Brembo upgraded discs on the front.
The other great thing about EBC is they have really great quality parts at a reasonable cost.
The money i am saving from not modifying the rear calipers, seperate rotors and bells and fixings means i will be able to invest in some other much needed parts e.g.Timing Belt, clutch and a few other nice upgrades.
New finish date for the Alfa is now end of summer 2014 as that is when the Corsa MOT runs out, plus the car will be required for other things.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Fri May 02, 2014 11:40 am

Not posted about the good old Alfa in a while, but since it is coming to the nice part of the year again and i need to get the car fixed up ready for babies birth-day, i thought i would start getting on with it again.
Hopefully tomorrow i can start the job of replacing the old suspension arms on the rear of the car and using my new polybushed arms.
The other day i also came across a nice chap who was selling off new bits which he bought for his GTA, but no longer needed. I got a decent pair of Meyle Heavy Duty droplinks for the front of the car. These are commonly made out of cheese and wear out quickly, but even more so on cars with uprated and lowered suspension. Plus they nice and shiny so will look good alongside the other parts when she goes in for an MOT.
Attachments
DSC_1836.jpg
Meyle HD drop links for the front
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